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The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. X. by Kuno Francke

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sign still. Do you give thanks to Him, too, my angel; think of the
many blessings He has conferred upon us, and the many dangers against
which He has protected us, and, with firm reliance on His strong hand,
confront the evil spirits with that when they try to affright your
sick fancy with all sorts of images of fear. * * *

Your most faithful

Brandenburg, July 23, '49.

_My Beloved Nanne!_--I have just received your short letter of Friday,
which reassures me somewhat, as I infer from it that our little one
has not the croup, but the whooping-cough, which is, indeed, bad, but
not so dangerous as the other. You, poor dear, must have worried
yourself sick. It is very fortunate that you have such good assistance
from our people and the preacher, yet are you all somewhat lacking in
confidence, and increase each other's anxiety instead of comforting
one another. Barschall has just told me that all of his children have
had this croupy cough--that it was endemic in Posen in his time; his
own and other children were attacked by it repeatedly in the course of
a few days; that every family had an emetic of a certain kind on hand
in the house, and by that means overcame the enemy easily every time,
and without permanent consequences for the child. Be comforted, then,
and trust in the Lord God; He does, indeed, show us the rod that He
has ready for us, but I have the firm belief that He will put it back
behind the mirror. As a child I, too, suffered from whooping-cough to
the extent of inflammation of the lungs, and yet entirely outgrew it.
I have the greatest longing to be with you, my angel, and think day
and night about you and your distress, and about the little creature,
during all the wild turmoil of the elections. * * *

Here in Brandenburg the party of the centre is decidedly stronger than
ours; in the country districts I hope it is the other way, yet the
fact cannot be overlooked. It is incredible what cock-and-bull stories
the democrats tell the peasants about me; in fact, one from the
Schoenhausen district, three miles from us, confided to me yesterday
that, when my name is mentioned among them, a regular shudder goes
through them from head to foot, as though they should get a couple of
"old-Prussian broadsword strokes" laid across their shoulders. As an
opponent said recently, at a meeting, "Do you mean to elect Bismarck
Schoenhausen, the man 'who, in the countryman's evening prayer, stands
hard by the devil'?" (From Grillparzer's _Ahnfrau_.) And yet I am the
most soft-hearted person in the world towards the common people. On
the whole, my election here in these circumstances seems very doubtful
to me; and as I do not believe I shall be elected in the other place
either, when I am not there personally, we may live together quietly
the rest of the summer, if it be God's will, and I will pet you into
recovery from your fright about the child, my darling. Have no anxiety
whatever about my personal safety; one hears nothing of the cholera
here except in a letter from Reinfeld. The first rule to observe, if
it should come nearer to you, is to speak of it as little as possible;
by speaking, one always augments the fear of others, and fear of it
is the easiest bridge on which it can enter the human body. * * *

God guard you and your child, and all our house.

Your most faithful


It is better not to leave the doors all open constantly, for the child
often gets shock from the draught, when one is opened, before you can
prevent it.

(Postmark, Berlin, August 8, '49.)

_My Love_,--I sent you a letter this morning, and have just received
yours, in reply to which I will add a few more words touching the
wet-nurse. If any one besides you and father and mother already knows
about the matter, in the house or outside, then tell her the truth
unhesitatingly, for in that case it will not stay hidden. If the
matter is still known to yourselves alone, let it continue so, but
then keep watch on the mail-bag, lest she learn of it unexpectedly.
The wet-nurse's sister here is unwilling to have it told to her. I
shall look her up today and speak with her. But if you do not wish to
keep it secret any longer, when once the child is rid of her cough,
you should at any rate look about you for a wet-nurse or woman who, in
case of necessity, can take Friederike's place immediately, if the
effect is such that the child cannot stay with her. I shall get the
sister to give me a letter to her, in which the story will be told
exactly and soothingly; this I shall send to you, so that you may make
use of it in case of need; that, I think, is the best way she can
learn of it. To tell her first that her child is sick, and so forth, I
do not consider a good plan, for anxiety has a worse effect than the
truth. God will graciously bring us out of this trouble. He holds us
with a short rein lest we should become self-confident, but He will
not let us fall. Good-by, my best-of-all; pray and keep your head up.

Your very faithful


Berlin, August 11, '49.

_Mon Ange_,--I went to see the wet-nurse's kinsfolk, and there learned
that the _fiance_ had written to her last Wednesday and revealed all
to her; so the matter will go as God directs. If you chanced to
intercept the letter, and on receipt of this have not yet delivered
it, please delay it until my next arrives. I could not find the
_fiance_ himself, and directed him to come to me this evening, and
shall write you what I learn from him. If Friederike knows everything
already, my wishes will reach you too late; otherwise I should like,
if in accordance with medical opinion, not to have the wet-nurse sent
away altogether, but only relieved from service for a few hours or
days; if, however, there are scruples on that point, it can't be done,
of course. From my many doubts, you will see that I cannot decide the
matter very well at this distance. Act quite in accordance with the
advice of your mother and the other experienced friends. I give my
views, merely, not commands. * * * Be content with these lines for
today; be courageous and submissive to God's will, my darling; all
will surely go well. Cordial remembrances to the parents.

Your most faithful


Berlin, Friday. (Postmark, August 17, '49.)

_Dearest Nanne_,-- * * * Your last letter, in which you inform me of
the happy solution of the wet-nurse difficulty, took a real load off
my heart; I thanked God for His mercy, and could almost have got drunk
from pure gayety. May His protection extend henceforward, too, over
you and the little darling. I am living with Hans here at the corner
of Taubenstrasse, three rooms and one alcove, quite elegant, but
narrow little holes; Hans' bed full of bugs, but mine not as yet--I
seem not to be to their taste. We pay twenty-five rix-dollars a month,
together. If there were one additional small room, and not two flights
of stairs, I could live with you here, and Hans could get another
apartment below in this house. But, as it is, it would be too cramped
for us. I have talked with the _fiance_ of the wet-nurse, a
modest-looking person. He spoke of her with love, and declared in
reply to my question that he certainly is willing to marry her. What
he wrote about the "white pestilence" is nonsense; no such sickness
exists, least of all in Berlin. The cholera is fast disappearing. I
have not heard a word more about it since I came here; one sees it
only in newspaper reports. Isn't our mammy jealous because, according
to the paper, I have been in company with "strikingly handsome"
Englishwomen? Lady Jersey was really something uncommon, such as is
usually seen only in _keepsakes_. I would have paid a rix-dollar
admission if she had been exhibited for money. She is now in Vienna.
For the rest, I have not had a letter from you this long time; my last
news comes from Bernhard, who left you a week ago today. God has
upheld you meantime, I trust, my angel. It is possible that a letter
from you is here. The delivery is always rather irregular: sometimes
the letter-carrier brings them, sometimes they are delivered at the
Chamber postal station. I will go immediately and inquire if anything
is there; then I will take a bath, and return at least ten calls that
have been paid me. It is a misery that now the people always receive
one--one loses a terrible amount of time at it.... Hans is still
inclined to treat me tyrannically, but I resist, and have been so far
successful that I sleep as long as I please, whereat the coffee grows
cold, however, as he is obstinately bent on not breakfasting alone.
So, too, he will not go to bed if I do not go at the same time, but
sleeps, just like my little Nanne, on the sofa.... Now, good-by my
much-beloved heart. I am very anxious on your account, and often am
quite tearful about it. Best regards to the parents.

Your most faithful v.B.

Berlin, Monday. (Postmark, August 28, '49.)

_My Darling_,--I sit here in my corner room, two flights up, and
survey the sky, full of nothing but little sunset-tinted lambs, as it
appears, along the Taubenstrasse and over the tree-tops of Prinz
Carl's garden, while along Friedrichstrasse it is all golden and
cloudless; the air damp and mild, too. I thought of you and of Venice,
and this only I wanted to write to you. News has come today that
Venice has surrendered at discretion; so we can go there again, and
again see the tall white grenadiers. * * * I dined with Manteuffel
today, yesterday with Prince Albert, of course, day before yesterday
with Arnim, and then I took a ride with him of fourteen miles at a
gallop--which suited me well, save for some muscular pains. In the
Chamber we keep on doing nothing whatever; in the Upper House the
German question, happily, has been brought forward again in very good
speeches by Gerlach, Bethmann, and Stahl, and yet today the Camphausen
proposition was adopted with all the votes against nineteen. With us,
too, it is beginning to excite men's tempers. The proposition is bad
in its tendency, but its result insignificant even if it goes through
with us, as is to be expected. _Tant de bruit pour une omelette_. The
real decision will not be reached in our Chambers, but in diplomacy
and on the battlefield, and all that we prate and resolve about it has
no more value than the moonshine observations of a sentimental youth
who builds air-castles and thinks that some unexpected event will make
him a great man. _Je m'en moque!_--and the farce often bores me nearly
to death, because I see no sensible object in this straw-threshing.
Mother's little letter gave me great pleasure, because, in the first
place, I see that you are well, and then because she has her old joke
with me, which is much pleasanter at a distance, as it does not lead
to strife; and yet how I should like to quarrel with mammy once more!
I am genuinely homesick to be quietly with you all in Schoenhausen.
Have you received the ribbon for Aennchen?

_Tuesday_.--Hans is just breakfasting, and eating up, from sheer
stinginess, a quarter pound of butter that he bought three days ago,
because it begins to get old. Now he screams that my tea is there,
too. I close for today, as I have something to do afterwards. My love
to FatherMotherAnnaAdelheidMarie and all the rest. God's blessing be
with you and keep you well and merry.

Your most faithful v.B.

Berlin, September 11, '49. (Postmarked September 10.)

I wrote yesterday, my Nannie, but as it costs me nothing, not even for
paper, for this is the Chamber's, I do want to improve a wearisome
moment, during which I must listen to the reading of a confused report
on normal prices, to send you another little greeting; but again
without the ribbon, for I am going to buy that later on. This morning
I attended the cavalry manoeuvres, on a very pleasant horse of
Fritz's; rode sharply, swallowed much dust, but, nevertheless, had a
good time; it is really pretty, these brilliant, rapidly moving masses
interspersed with the clanking of iron and the bugle signals. The
Queen, my old flame, greeted me so cordially. Having driven past
without noticing me, she rose and turned backward over the bar of the
carriage, to nod to me thrice; that lady appreciates a Prussian heart.
Tomorrow I shall take a look at the grand parade, in which the
infantry also participates. I believe I have written you that the King
and Leopold Gerlach visited the Emperor of Austria at Teplitz, where
there was also a Russian plenipotentiary. The proletariats of the
Chamber are now gradually coming to see that on that occasion
something may have been concocted which will cast mildew on their
German hot-house flowers, and the fact that his Majesty has conversed
with the ruler of all the Croatians frightens them somewhat. _Qui
vivra verra_. These Frankfort cabbage-heads are incorrigible; they
and their phrases are like the old liars who in the end honestly
believe their own stories; and the impression produced on our Chamber
by such ridiculous things as they say, without any regard for the
matter in hand, or for common-sense, will be sure at last to convince
people generally that peasants and provincials are not fit to make
laws and conduct European politics. Now I must listen. Farewell, my
much-beloved heart. Love to my daughter and your parents.

Your most faithful v.B.

Berlin, Friday.

(Postmarked September 21, '49.)

I am well, my darling Nan, but I am cold, for in the morning the rooms
are already so chilly that I long very much for the Schoenhausen
fireplaces, and matters in the Chamber are so tedious that I often
have serious thoughts of resigning my commission. In the ministry
there is again a shameful measure preparing; they now want to submit a
real property tax bill, according to which those estates which are not
manors are to be indemnified, while manors must suffer, as the number
of nobles is not dangerous. Only if encumbered for more than
two-thirds of their value, they are to be assisted by loans. What good
will a loan do a bankrupt, who has it to repay! It is a mixture of
cowardice and shameless injustice such as I could not have expected.
Yesterday we had soft, warm autumn weather, and I took a long walk in
the Thiergarten, by the same solitary paths which we used to traverse
together; I sat, too, on our bench near the swan-pond; the young swans
which were then still in their eggs on the little island were now
swimming vivaciously about, fat, gray, and _blase_, among the dirty
ducks, and the old ones sleepily laid their heads on their backs. The
handsome large maple standing near the bridge has already leaves of a
dark-red color; I wished to send you one of them, but in my pocket it
has become so hard that it crumbles away; the gold-fish pond is
almost dried up; the lindens, the black alders, and other delicate
things bestrew the paths with their yellow, rustling foliage, and the
round chestnut-burrs exhibit a medley of all shades of sombre and
attractive fall coloring. The promenade, with its morning fogs among
the trees, reminded me vividly of Kniephof, the woodcock-hunt, the
line of springes, and how everything was so green and fresh when I
used to walk there with you, my darling. * * * On the 1st of October I
shall probably have to attend the celebration of the nine-hundredth
anniversary of the founding of the cathedral there, to which the King
is coming. For the 2d and the following days I have been invited to go
on a royal hunt to the Falkenstein. I should be very glad to shoot a
deer in those woods which we and Mary saw illuminated by the moon on
that evening; but even if matters in the Chamber should not prevent, I
am at a loss how to reconcile that with our journey, and I feel as
though I should steal my days from you by going. * * * I am now going
out to buy a waist, to call on Rauch, and then again to the
Thiergarten. All love to father and mother, and may God preserve you
in the future as hitherto, my dearest.

Your most faithful v.B.

Berlin, Friday.

(Postmarked September 28, '49.)

_My Dear,--_I have taken the apartment in the Behrenstrasse; that on
the Thiergarten is too uncomfortable for you in going in and out in
wet winter weather. * * * It is better that I should procure and
arrange everything for you in advance; then you need only alight here
and sink into my open arms and on a ready sofa; that would be so
pretty; only come soon, my beloved angel; today the weather is already
bitter cold, and write me exactly when I can come for you to Z. Do not
be offended, either, at my note of yesterday, and do not think that
you have offended me, but please come quickly. I am not going to the
Harz. Much love. In great haste.

Your most faithful v.B.

Over the blue mountain,
Over the white sea-foam,
Come, thou beloved one,
Come to thy lonely home.

--_Old Song_.

Schoenhausen, October 2, '49.

_My Beloved Nan,--I am sitting in our quiet old Schoenhausen, where I
am quite comfortable, after the Berlin hubbub, and I should like to
stay here a week, if the old Chamber allowed. This morning Odin
awakened me, and then retreated as usual between the beds; then the
Bellins groaned very much about the bad qualities of the tenant, with
whom they lead a cat-and-dog life, and I discussed with her, pro and
con, all that is to be sent to Berlin. The garden is still quite green
for the fall season, but the paths are overgrown with grass, and our
little island is so dwarfed and wet that I could not get on to it; it
rains without let-up. The little alderman, of course, sat with me all
the afternoon, otherwise I should have written you sooner and more at
length. I want to leave again tomorrow morning, and I have still
several business letters to write. Yesterday, with the King, I
celebrated the nine-hundredth anniversary of the Brandenburg
Cathedral, after it had been thoroughly exorcised and the bad national
spirits driven out. The entire royal family was there, except the
Princess of Babelsberg, who is at Weimar; also Brandenburg,
Manteuffel, Wrangel, Voss, and many high dignitaries, among them
myself, quite courageously at the front in church, next to the
princesses. At dinner his Majesty said many pretty things about his
electoral and capital city of Brandenburg, and was also very friendly
to me. I introduced to the Queen a number of village mayors, who had
been of particular service in my election; they were so much moved by
it that afterwards they embraced me with tears in their eyes. Finally,
the King became very angry at Patow, who had made his appearance as
President-in-chief, and to whom he had not spoken till then. "Sir,"
said he, in a very loud and angry voice, "if you belong to the Right,
then vote with the Right; if you belong to the Left, vote, in the----
name with the Left; but I require of my servants that they stand by
me, do you understand?" Breathless silence, and P---- looked like a
duck in a thunder-storm. * * * It is right good that I did not take
the apartment on the Thiergarten; aside from the wet feet which my
angel would get in dirty and damp weather, the house has been broken
into seven times during the couple of years of its existence, a fact
of which sympathizing souls would surely have informed you; and, if on
some long winter evening I were not at home, you and the two girls and
baby would have shuddered mightily over it. The little old clock is
just clearing its throat to strike seven; I must to my work. Farewell,
dearest; and, above all things, come-mmmm quickly--in a hurry,
swiftly, instantly--to your dear little husbandkin. Most hearty
greetings to our parents.

Your most faithful v.B.

Erfurt, April 19, '50.

_My Beloved Nan_,--It is bad to live in such a small town, with three
hundred acquaintances. One is never sure of his life a single moment,
for calls. An hour ago I got rid of the last bores; then, during
supper, I walked up and down in my room, and annihilated almost the
whole fat sausage, which is very delicious, drank a stone mug of beer
from the Erfurt "Felsenkeller," and now, while writing, I am eating
the second little box of Marchpane, which was, perhaps, intended for
Hans, who has not got any of the sausage even; in its place I will
leave him the little ham. During the last few days we have been
valiantly quarrelling in Parliament; but neither at the beginning nor
later could I obtain the floor for my principal speech; but I relieved
myself of some gall in minor skirmishes. * * * I am sick and tired of
life here; attending the sitting early in the morning, thence directly
to a screaming and chattering _table d'hote,_ then for coffee to the
Steiger, a most charming little mountain, a mile from the city, where
one can walk about through the pleasantest hours of the day with a
pretty view of Erfurt and the Thuringian woods; under magnificent
oaks, among the little light-green leaves of prickles and horn-beam;
from there to the abominable party caucus, which has never yet made me
any the wiser, so that one does not get home all day. If I do not
attend the caucus meetings, they all rail at me, for each one grudges
the others any escape from the tedium. * * * Good-by, my heart. May
God's hand be over you, and the children, and protect you from
sickness and worry, but particularly you, the apple of my eye, whom
Roeder envies me daily in the promenade, when the sunset makes him
sentimental, and he wishes he had such a "good, dear, devout wife."
For the rest, my allowance suffices for my needs here, and I shall
still bring treasures home. Good-night, my darling. Many thanks for
your faithful letter, and write me again at once; I am always anxious
for news. Hans has just come in, and sends you sleepy greetings, after
sitting on the lounge for hardly ten seconds. Once more, good-night,
my Nan.

Your most faithful v.B.

Erfurt, April 23, '50.

_My Darling_,-- * * * We shall probably be released a week from today,
and then we have before us a quiet Schoenhausen summer, as the cry of
war is also dying. It is really going to be summer again, and on a
very long walk, from which I am returning home dead tired, I took much
pleasure in the small green leaves of the hazel and white beech, and
heard the cuckoo, who told me that we shall live together for eleven
years more; let us hope longer still. My hunt was extraordinary;
charming wild pine-woods on the ride out, sky-high, as in the
Erzgebirge; then, on the other side, steep valleys, like the Selke,
only the hills were much higher, with beeches and oaks. The night
before starting I had slept but four hours; then went to bed at nine
o'clock in Schleusingen on the south side of the Thuringian wood;
arose at midnight; that evening I had eaten freely of the trout and
had drunk weak beer with them; at one o'clock we rode to a forge in
the mountains, where ghostlike people poked the fire; then we climbed,
without stopping, until three o 'clock, in pouring rain, I wearing a
heavy overcoat; so steep that I had to help myself with my hands; so
dark in the fir thickets that I could touch the huntsman ahead of me
with my hand, but could not see him. Then, too, we were told there is
a precipice on the right, and the torrent sent up its roar from the
purple depths below; or that there is a pool on the left, and the path
was slippery. I had to halt three times; repeatedly I almost fainted
from weakness, lay down on the dripping heath, and let the rain pour
on me. But I was firmly resolved to see the grouse; and I did see
several, but could not shoot them, for reasons which one must be a
huntsman to understand. My companion shot one, and, if I had been
well, I might have shot two; I was too exhausted. After three it
cleared and became wonderfully fine, the horn-owl gave place to the
thrush, and at sunrise the bird-chorus became deafening; the
wood-pigeons singing bass, withal. At five I was down again, and, as
it began to pour once more, I abandoned further attempts, returned
hither, ate very heartily, after a twenty-four hours' fast, and drank
two glasses of champagne, then slept for fourteen hours, until
yesterday at one o'clock, noon, and now I am feeling much better than
before the excursion, and am glad of the good constitution which God
has given me, to get through it all. * * * I send you lots of love, my
heart, and will piously celebrate fast-day tomorrow at the Wermel
church. God preserve you. Love to mother and Melissa. Excuse my haste.
I had really left myself an hour of leisure, but that little old Mass
has his fourteenth child, just born. The only son of our poor
Eglofstein, of Arklitten, twenty-three-year-old lieutenant of
cuirassiers, has shot himself in hypochondria; I pity the father
extremely, a devout, honorable man.

Your most faithful


Schoenhausen, Sunday Evening.

(Postmarked Jerichow, September 30, '50.)

_My Beloved Nan_,-- * * * I regained possession of my things in Berlin
at some cost, after twenty-four hours had elapsed; when I left, the
unfortunate Jew had not yet claimed his. Partly on my account and
partly on Hans', we had to stay in Berlin two days, but this time the
bill was more reasonable. * * * May the devil take politics! Here I
found everything as we left it, only the leaves show the rosiness of
autumn; flowers are almost more plentiful than in summer; Kahle has a
particular fondness for them, and on the terrace fabulous pumpkins are
suspended by their vines from the trees. The pretty plums are gone;
only a few blue ones still remain; of the vine, only the common green
variety is ripe; next week I shall send you some grapes. I have
devoured so many figs today that I was obliged to drink rum, but they
were the last. I am sorry you cannot see the Indian corn; it stands
closely packed, three feet higher than I can reach with my hand; the
colts' pasture looks from a distance like a fifteen-year-old pine
preserve. I am sitting here at your desk, a crackling fire behind me,
and Odin, rolled into a knot, by my side. * * * Mamsell received me in
pink, with a black dancing-jacket; the children in the village
ridicule her swaggering about her noble and rich relations. She has
cooked well again today, but, as to the feeding of the cattle, Bellin
laments bitterly that she understands nothing about it, and pays no
attention to it, and she is also said to be uncleanly; the Bellin
woman does not eat a mouthful prepared by her. Her father is a common
cottager and laborer; I can easily understand that she is out of place
there, with her grand airs and pink dresses. Up to this time the
garden, outside of Kahle's keep, has cost one hundred and three
rix-dollars this year, and between now and Christmas forty to fifty
will probably be added for digging and harvesting, besides the fuel.
The contents of the greenhouse I shall try to have care of in the
neighborhood; that is really the most difficult point, and still one
cannot continue keeping the place for the sake of the few oranges. I
am giving out that you will spend the winter in Berlin, that in the
summer-time we intend going to a watering-place again, and that,
therefore, we are giving up housekeeping for a year. * * * Hearty love
to our parents. I shall celebrate father's birthday with you, like a
Conservative, in the old style. May the merciful God, for His Son's
sake, preserve you and the children. Farewell, my dear Nan.

Your v.B.

Since leaving Reinfeld I no longer have heartburn; perhaps it is in my
heart, and my heart has remained with Nan.

Schoenhausen, October 1, '50.

_My Angel_,--I am so anxious that I can hardly endure being here; I
have the most decided inclination to inform the government at once of
my resignation, let the dike go, and proceed to Reinfeld. I expected
to have a letter from you today, but nothing except stupid police
matters. Do write very, very often, even if it takes one hundred
rix-dollars postage. I am always afraid that you are sick, and today I
am in such a mood that I should like to foot it to Pomerania. I long
for the children, for mammy and dad, and, most of all, for you, my
darling, so that I have no peace at all. Without you here, what is
Schoenhausen to me? The dreary bedroom, the empty cradles with the
little beds in them, all the absolute silence, like an autumn fog,
interrupted only by the ticking of the clock and the periodic falling
of the chestnuts--it is as though you all were dead. I always imagine
your next letter will bring bad news, and if I knew it was in Genthin
by this time I would send Hildebrand there in the night. Berlin is
endurable when one is alone; there one is busy, and can chatter all
day; but here it is enough to drive one mad; I must formerly have been
an entirely different mortal, to bear it as I did. * * * The girl
received the notice to leave very lightly and good-naturedly, as
quite a matter of course; Kahle, on the other hand, was beside
himself, and almost cried; said he could not find a place at
Christmas-time, and would go to the dogs, as he expressed it. I
consoled him by promising to pay his wages for another quarter if he
failed to find a place by New Year's. The girl is quite useless except
in cooking, of which more orally. I cannot enumerate all the little
trifles, and certainly Kahle does not belong to the better half of
gardeners. * * * I feel so vividly as if I were with you while writing
this that I am becoming quite gay, until I again recollect the three
hundred and fifty miles, including one hundred and seventy-five
without a railroad. Pomerania is terribly long, after all. Have you my
Kuelz letter, too? Bernhard has probably kept it in his pocket. Do not
prepay your letters, or they will be stolen. Innumerable books have
arrived from the binder; he claims one section of Scott's _Pirate_ is
missing; I know nothing about it. The tailor says that he has been
able to make only five pair of drawers from the stuff; presumably he
is wearing the sixth himself. Farewell, my sweetheart. Write as often
as you can, and give love and kisses to every one from me, large and
small. May God's mercy be with you.

Your most faithful v.B.

Schoenhausen, October 10, '50.

_My Darling_,--In a sullen rage I swoop down upon my inkstand after
just lighting the Town Councillor downstairs with the kindliest
countenance in the world. He sat here for two and a half hours by the
clock, moaning and groaning, without the least regard for my wry face;
I was just about to read the paper when he came. From ten to two I
crawled about the Elbe's banks, in a boat and on foot, with many
stupid people, attending to breakwaters, protective banks, and all
sorts of nonsense. This is, in general, a day of vexations; this
morning I dreamed so charmingly that I stood with you on the seashore;
it was just like the new strand, only the mud was rocks, the beeches
were thick-foliaged laurel, the sea was as green as the Lake of Traun,
and opposite us lay Genoa, which we shall probably never see, and it
was delightfully warm; then I was awakened by Hildebrand, accompanied
by a summoner, who brought me an order to serve as a juror at
Magdeburg from October 20th to November 16th, under penalty of from
one hundred to two hundred rix-dollars for each day of absence. I am
going there by the first train tomorrow, and hope to extricate myself;
for God so to punish my deep and restless longing for what is dearest
to me in this world, so that we shall not have the fleeting pleasure
of a couple of weeks together, would, indeed, be incredibly severe. I
am all excitement; that is our share in the newly achieved
liberty--that I am to be forced to spend my few days of freedom
sitting in judgment over thievish tramps of Jews, like a prisoner in a
fortress. I hope Gerlach can free me; otherwise I shall never speak to
him again. Tomorrow I shall at once drop you a line from Magdeburg, to
tell you how I succeed. * * * The people have abandoned the
dike-captain conspiracy against me; the Town Councillor says he will
not press it at all. He chattered to me for hours about his land-tax
commission, in which his anxiety drove him to rage against his own
flesh, and also, unfortunately, against ours. Our chief misfortune is
the cowardly servility towards those above and the chasing after
popularity below, which characterize our provincial councillor;
consequently public business, the chase, land-tax, etc., are all
deleteriously affected. It is due principally to the fact that he is
grossly ignorant and bungling in affairs, and is, therefore, for
better, for worse, in the hands of his democratic circuit secretary,
to whom he never dares to show his teeth; and, despite all that, the
fellow wears trousers, has been a soldier, and is a nobleman. La-Croix
is district-attorney at Madgeburg, withal, and he, too, must help me
to sneak out of it. It is still impossible for me to acquiesce in the
notion that we are to be separated all winter, and I am sick at heart
whenever I think of it; only now do I truly feel how very, very much
you and the _babies_ are part of myself, and how you fill my being.
That probably explains why it is that I appear cold to all except you,
even to mother; if God should impose on me the terrible affliction of
losing you, I feel, so far as my feelings can at this moment grasp and
realize such a wilderness of desolation, that I would then cling so to
your parents that mother would have to complain of being persecuted
with love. But away with all imaginary misery; there is enough in
reality. Let us now earnestly thank the Lord that we are all together,
even though separated by three hundred and fifty miles, and let us
experience the sweetness of knowing that we love each other very much,
and can tell each other so. To me it is always like ingratitude to God
that we choose to live apart so long, and are not together while He
makes it possible for us; but He will show us His will; all may turn
out differently; the Chambers may be dissolved, possibly very quickly,
as the majority is probably opposed to the Ministry. Manteuffel was
resolved upon it in that event, and it seems that Radowitz, since he
is Minister, has approached him, and, in general, wants to change his
politics again. Best love to all. Farewell. God keep you.

Your most faithful v.B.

Berlin, April 28, '51.

_My Dear Sweetheart_,--Mother's premonition that I would remain long
away has, unfortunately, proved correct this time. * * * The King was
the first to propose my nomination, and that at once, as a real
delegate to the Diet; his plan has, of course, encountered much
opposition, and has finally been so modified that Rochow will, it is
true, remain Minister at Petersburg, whither he is to return in two
months, but meanwhile, provisionally, he is commissioned to Frankfort,
and I am to accompany him, with the assurance that, on his leaving for
Petersburg, I shall be his successor. But this last is between

Now I want to go, first of all, to Frankfort, and take a
look at the situation, and hear how I shall stand pecuniarily pending
my definite appointment, of which I know nothing at all as yet. Then I
shall see whether I can leave again shortly after the start, and
whether I am to count on staying any longer; for, although I have,
indeed, accepted, still I am not yet sufficiently familiar with the
ground to be able to say definitely whether I shall stay there or
shortly get out again. As soon as that is decided, we shall probably,
after all, have to consider for you, too, the prospect of exchanging
your quiet Reinfeld existence for the noise of the Diet's diplomacy.
You folks have often complained that nothing was made of me by those
above me; now this is, beyond my expectations and wishes, a sudden
appointment to what is at this moment the most important post in our
diplomatic service; I have not sought it; I must assume that the Lord
wished it, and I cannot withdraw, although I foresee that it will be
an unfruitful and a thorny office, in which, with the best intentions,
I shall forfeit the good opinion of many people. But it would be
cowardly to decline. I cannot give you today further particulars as to
our plans, how we shall meet, what will be done about your going to
the seashore; only I shall try to make leisure, if possible, to see
you before. I feel almost like crying when I think of this sudden
upsetting of our innocent plans, as well as of the uncertainty when I
shall see you again, my beloved heart, and the babies; and I earnestly
pray God to arrange it all without detriment to our earthly welfare
and without harm to my soul. God be with you, my dear, and bring us
together again soon. With heartfelt love.

Your most faithful v.B.

Frankfort, May 14, '51.

_My Little Dear,_--* * * It seems to be getting constantly more
certain that I shall take Rochow's position in the summer. In that
event, if the rating remains as it was, I shall have a salary of
twenty-one thousand rix-dollars, but I shall have to keep a large
train and household establishment and you, my poor child, must sit
stiff and sedate in the drawing-room, be called Excellency, and be
clever and wise with Excellencies. * * * The city is not so bad as you
suppose; there are a great many charming villas before the gates,
similar to those in the Thiergarten, only more sunny. As Councillor of
Legation, it will be difficult for us to live there, owing to distance
and expense; but as Ambassador, quite as charming as is possible in a
foreign land. By letters of introduction I have quickly become
acquainted with the charming world hereabouts. Yesterday I dined with
the English Ambassador, Lord Cowley, nephew of the Duke of Wellington;
very kind, agreeable people; she is an elegant woman of about forty,
very worldly, but benevolent and easy to get acquainted with; I have
immediately put myself on a friendly footing with her, so that when
you step into the cold bath of diplomatic society she may be a
powerful support for you. Previously I called on a Frau von Stallupin
(pronounce Stolipine), a young woman without children, kindly, like
all Russian women, but terribly rich, and settled in a little
castle-like villa, so that one hardly dares to take a step or to sit
down; a Scharteuck interior is a rude barn compared with it. Day
before yesterday evening I called on Frau von Vrintz, a sister of
Meyendorf's wife; the diplomatic folks assemble every evening in her
drawing-room. Countess Thun was there, a very handsome young woman, in
the style of Malvinia; also the Marquis de Tallenay, French
Ambassador, a polite fifty-year-old; Count Szechenyi, a gay young
Magyar, full of pranks, and divers other foreign personages. They
gamble there every evening, the lady of the house, too, and not for
very low stakes; I was scolded for declaring it boresome, and told
them it would be my role to laugh at those who lost. Society probably
does not appeal to you very strongly, my beloved heart, and it seems
to me as though I were harming you by bringing you into it, but how
shall I avoid that? I have one favor to ask of you, but keep it to
yourself, and do not let mother suspect that I have written you one
word about it, otherwise she will worry needlessly over it: occupy
yourself with French as much as you can in the meantime, but let it be
thought that you yourself have discovered that it is useful. Read
French, but, if you love me, do not do so by artificial light, or if
your eyes pain you; in that case you had better ask mother to read to
you, for it is almost harder to understand than to speak. If you know
of any agreeable piece of baggage you can get in a hurry to chatter
French to you, then engage one; I will gladly pay the bill. You will
enter here an atmosphere of French spirit and talk, anyway; so you
cannot avoid familiarizing yourself with it as far as possible. If you
know of no person whom you like and who is available, let it go; and,
at any rate, I beg you sincerely not to consider this advice as a
hardship, or otherwise than if I asked you to buy yourself a green or
a blue dress; it is not a matter of life and death; you are _my_ wife,
and not the diplomats', and they can just as well learn German as you
can learn French. Only if you have leisure, or wish to read anyway,
take a French novel; but if you have no desire to do so, consider this
as not written, for I married you in order to love you in God and
according to the need of my heart, and in order to have in the midst
of the strange world a place for my heart, which all the world's bleak
winds cannot chill, and where I may find the warmth of the home-fire,
to which I eagerly betake myself when it is stormy and cold without;
but not to have a society woman for others, and I shall cherish and
nurse your little fireplace, put wood on it and blow, and protect it
against all that is evil and strange, for, next to God's mercy, there
is nothing which is dearer and more necessary to me than your love,
and the homelike hearth which stands between us everywhere, even in a
strange land, when we are together. Do not be too much depressed and
sad over the change of our life; my heart is not attached, or, at
least, not strongly attached, to earthly honor; I shall easily
dispense with it if it should ever endanger our peace with God or our
contentment. * * * Farewell, my dearly beloved heart. Kiss the
children for me, and give your parents my love.

Your most faithful v.B.

Frankfort, May 16, '51.

_Dear Mother_,--* * * So far as I am at present acquainted with the
_highest_ circles of society, there is only one house which seems to
me to promise company for Johanna--that of the English Ambassador. As
this letter will probably be opened by the Austrian (Frankfort)
post-office authorities, I shall refrain from explaining on this
occasion the reasons therefor. Even those letters which, like my last
ones, I took occasion to send by a courier, are not secure from
indiscretions at _Berlin_; those to me as well as those from me; but
those which go by the regular mail are always opened, except when
there is no time for it, as the gentleman who will read this could
probably testify. But all that, for better, for worse, forms part of
the petty ills of my new position.

In my thoughts I must always ask you and our dad to forgive me for
depriving you of the pleasure and the happiness of your old days,
inasmuch as I transplant to such a distance the bright child-life,
with all its dear cares, and take Johanna away a second time from her
father's house; but I see no other way out of it, which would not be
unnatural, or even wrong, and the strong arm which separated us when
we hoped to be united can also unite us when we least expect it. You
shall at least have the conviction, so far as human purpose can give
it, that I shall wander, together with Johanna, with the strong staff
of the Word of God, trough this dead and wicked activity of the world,
whose nakedness will become more apparent to us in our new position
than before, and that to the end of our joint pilgrimage my hand shall
strive, in faithful love, to smooth Johanna's paths, and to be a warm
covering to her against the breath of the great world.

Your faithful son, v.B.

Frankfort, May 18, '51.

_My Darling_,--Frankfort is terribly tiresome; I am so spoiled by so
much affection and so much business that I am only just beginning to
suspect how ungrateful I always was to some people in Berlin, to say
nothing of you and yours; but even the cooler measure of fellowship
and party affiliation which came to me in Berlin may be called an
intimate relationship compared with intercourse here, which is, in
fact, nothing more than mutual mistrust and espionage, if there only
were anything to spy out or to conceal! The people toil and fret over
nothing but mere trifles, and these diplomats, with their
consequential hair-splitting, already seem to me more ridiculous than
the Member of the Second Chamber in the consciousness of his dignity.
If foreign events do not take place, and those we over-smart Diet
people can neither direct nor prognosticate, I know quite definitely
now what we shall have accomplished in one, two, or five years, and am
willing to effect it in twenty-four hours if the others will but be
truthful and sensible for a single day. I have never doubted that they
all use water for cooking; but such an insipid, silly water-broth, in
which not a single bubble of mutton-suet is visible, surprises me.
Send me Filoehr, the village-mayor, Stephen Lotke, and Herr von
Dombrowsky, of the turnpike-house, as soon as they are washed and
combed, and I shall cut a dash with them in diplomatic circles. I am
making headlong progress in the art of saying nothing by using, many
words; I write reports of many pages, which read nice and smooth as
editorials; and if Manteuffel, after he has read them, can tell what
they contain, he can do more than I. Each of us makes believe that he
thinks the other is full of ideas and plans, if he would but speak
out, and yet we none of us know a jot better than the man in the moon
does what is to become of Germany. No mortal, not even the most
malevolently skeptical Democrat, will believe what a vast amount of
charlatanism and consequential pomposity there is in this diplomacy.
But now I have done enough scolding, and want to tell you that I am
well, and that I was very glad and gave thanks to the Lord that,
according to your last letter, all was well with you, and that I love
you very much, and look at every pretty villa, thinking that perhaps
our _babies_ will be running about in it in summer. Do see that you
get the girls to come along, or if they absolutely refuse, bring
others from there with whom we are already somewhat acquainted. I
don't care to have a Frankfort snip in the room, or with the children;
or we must take a Hessian girl, with short petticoats and ridiculous
head-gear; they are half-way rural and honest. For the present I shall
rent a furnished room for myself in the city; the inn here is too
expensive. Lodgings, 5 guilders per day; two cups of tea, without
anything else, 36 kreutzers (35 are 10 silbergroschen), and, served as
the style is here, it is insulting. Day before yesterday I was at
Mayence; it is a charming region, indeed. The rye is already standing
in full ears, although the weather is infamously cold every night and
morning. The excursions by rail are the best things here. To
Heidelberg, Baden-Baden, Odenwald, Hamburg, Soden, Wiesbaden, Bingen,
Ruedesheim, Niederwald, is a leisurely day's journey; one can stay
there for five or six hours and be here again in the evening; hitherto
I have not yet availed myself of it, but shall do so, so that I may
escort you when you are here. Rochow left for Warsaw at nine o'clock
last night; he will arrive there day after tomorrow at noon, and will
most likely be here again a week from today. About politics and
individuals cannot write you much, because most letters are opened,
When once they are familiar with your address on my letters and with
your handwriting on yours, they will probably get over it, because
they have no time to read family letters. Do not be afraid of the
local aristocracy; as to money, Rothschild is the most aristocratic,
but deprive them _all_ of their money and salaries, and it would be
seen how little each one is aristocratic in himself; money doesn't do
it, and otherwise--may the Lord keep me in humility, but here the
temptation is strong to be content with one's self.

Countess Pueckler, sister of the Countess Stolberg, resides at
Weistritz, near Schweidnitz. Now, farewell; I must go out. God's
blessing be with you. Give F. and M. much love. Your most faithful v.

Frankfort, May 27, '51.

_My Darling_,--* * * On Friday there was a ball at Lady Cowley's,
which lasted until five in the morning; they all dance here as if
possessed; the oldest delegates of fifty, with white hair, danced to
the end of the cotillion, in the sweat of their brows. At midnight
"God Save the Queen" was solemnly played, because her birthday was
dawning, and it was all a transparency of English coats-of-arms and
colors from top to bottom, and very many odd, stiff ladies, who "lisp
English when they lie," as I read once upon a time the translation of
that passage in _Faust_; that is to say, they all have a passion for
talking bad French, and I am altogether forgetting my English, as I
have discovered to my dismay. * * * Oftentimes I feel terribly
homesick, and that is to me an agreeable sadness, for otherwise I seem
to myself so aged, so dryly resigned and documentary, as if I were
only pasted on a piece of card-board. * * * Give your dear parents my
heartfelt love, and kiss Annie's pretty hand for me, because she stays
with you so sweetly-Now, I shall not write another word until I have a
letter from you in hand. Yesterday I attended the Lutheran church
here; a not very gifted, but devout, minister; the audience consisted,
apart from myself, of just twenty two women, and my appearance was
visibly an event. God bless and keep you and the children.

Your most faithful v.B.


Frankfort, Ascension Day--Evening.

(Postmarked Berlin, June 1, '51.)

_My Heart_,--How good it is of you all that, directly after I had
mailed my complaint of lack of news, there arrives such a shower of
letters. A thousand thanks to your dear parents, and I shall answer
dad tomorrow, when I am less hurried than today, for on this dear
holiday, after a big dinner, I must still write some long despatches.
I was at the French church today, where at least there was more
congregation and devotion, and the minister was passable, too, but I
cannot talk French with my dear, faithful Lord and Saviour; it seems
to me ungrateful. For the rest, they sang pretty hymns, these insipid
Calvinists, almost in the sweet Catholic tune which you always
play. * * *

Your most faithful v.B.

Your letter had been opened again.

Frankfort, June 4, '51.

_My Darling_,--Were you not going to write to me any more? I was
resolved even yesterday not to put pen to paper until I should have a
letter from you, but, anyway, I will be good, and tell you that I am
well and love you, even if you let your little inkstand dry up. I long
exceedingly for you and the children, and for quiet, comfortable
domesticity at Schoenhausen or Reinfeld. As soon as I have finished my
hitherto rather unimportant occupations, my empty lodgings, and the
whole dreary world behind, face me, and I know not where to set my
foot, for there is nothing which particularly attracts me. Day before
yesterday I ate at Biberich, with the Duke of Nassau, the first fresh
herrings and the first strawberries and raspberries of the season. It
is certainly a delightful piece of earth along the Rhine, and I looked
pensively from the castle windows over to the red cathedral of
Mayence, which, almost four years ago, we both went to see very early
in the morning, in times for which we were not then sufficiently
grateful to God; I remembered how, on board the steamer, the blue
hills before us, we passed by the Duke's handsome castle, without
dreaming how and why I should stand there at the window this year, an
old wig of a Minister before me, who unravelled his views on national
polities, while I was thinking, with an occasional absent-minded
"Quite so," of our trip of '47, and sought with my eyes the spot on
the Mayence bridge whence you, in your little Geneva coat, embarked on
the steamer; and then I thought of Geneva. * * * Countess Thun
unfortunately left on Sunday for Tetschen, to spend three months with
her father-in-law. She is a kindly lady, womanly and devout (Catholic,
very), attributes which do not grace the women here in general; her
husband gambles and flirts, I believe, more so than is agreeable to
her. I hardly believe that you will like her, but she is one of the
better specimens of women of the great world, even though that just
proves to me that a woman of that world would not have been suitable
for me; I like her to associate with, but not to marry. Perhaps, by
comparing her with the others of her sort, you will learn to
appreciate her. The gentlemen are unendurable. The moment I accost one
he assumes a diplomatic countenance, and thinks of what he can answer
without saying too much, and what he can write home concerning my
utterances. Those who are not so I find still less congenial; they
talk equivocally to the ladies, and the latter encourage them
shamefully. It makes a less morbid impression on me if a woman falls
thoroughly for once, but preserves a sense of shame at heart, than if
she takes pleasure in such chatter; and I value the Countess Thun,
because, despite the general fashion prevailing here, she knows how to
keep decidedly clear of all that sort of thing. * * * Your most
faithful v.B.

Frankfort, June 26, '51.

_My Darling_,--Today I have been suffering all day long from
homesickness. I received your letter of Sunday early, and then I sat
in the window and smelled the summer fragrance of roses and all sorts
of shrubs in the little garden, and while so doing I heard one of your
dear Beethoven pieces, played by an unknown hand on the piano, wafted
over from some window opposite, distantly and in snatches, and to me
it sounded prettier than any concert. I kept wondering why I must,
after all, be so far away, for a long time, from you and the children,
while so many people who do not love each other at all see one another
from morning till night. It is now seven months since I received at
Reinfeld the order to join the regiment; since then we have twice paid
each other a hasty visit, and it will be eight or nine months before
we shall be again united. It must, indeed, be the Lord's will, for I
have not sought it, and when I am sorrowful it is a consolation to me
that I did not speak a syllable in order to come here, and that
ambition for outward pomp was not what led me to this separation. We
are not in this world to be happy and to enjoy, but to do our duty;
and the less my condition is a self-made one, the more do I realize
that I am to perform the duties of the office in which I am placed.
And I certainly do not wish to be ungrateful, for I am, nevertheless,
happy in the knowledge of possessing so much that is dear, even if far
away from here, and in the hope of a happy reunion. On the arrival of
every letter from Reinfeld my first feeling is one of hearty gratitude
for the unmerited happiness that I still have you in this world, and
with every death of wife or child which I see in the newspaper the
consciousness of what I have to lose comes forcibly home to me, and of
what the merciful God has granted and thus far preserved to me. Would
that gratitude therefor might so dispose my obstinate and worldly
heart to receive the mercy of the Lord that it shall not be necessary
for Him to chastise me in what I love, for I have greater fear of that
than of any other evil. * * * In a few weeks it must be decided
whether I shall be made Envoy here or stay at Reinfeld. The Austrians
at Berlin are agitating against my appointment, because my
black-and-white is not sufficiently yellow for them; but I hardly
believe they will succeed, and you, my poor dear, will probably have
to jump into the cold water of diplomacy; and the boy, unlucky wight
that he is, will have a South-German accent added to his Berlin
nativity. * * * As far as can now be foreseen, I shall not be able to
get away from this galley for two or three weeks, for, including
Silesia, that amount of time would probably be necessary for it. But
much water will flow down the Main before then, and I am not worrying
before the time comes. How I should like to turn suddenly around the
bushy corner of the lawn and surprise all of you in the hall! I see
you so plainly, attending to the children, covering up Midget, with
sensible speeches, and father sitting at his desk smoking, the mayor
beside him, and mammy bolt-upright on her sofa, by wretched light, one
hand lying on the arm-rest, or holding _Musee Francais_ close before
her eyes. God grant that at this moment everything at Reinfeld is
going as smoothly as this. I have at last received a letter from Hans,
one that is very charming, and, contrary to his custom, mysterious, in
view of the post-office spies. You may imagine how Senfft writes to me
under these circumstances. I received an unsigned letter from him the
other day, out of which the most quick-witted letter-bandit would have
been at a loss to decipher what he was driving at. If you occasionally
come across some unintelligible notices at the tail end of the
_Observer_, they will thus seem to you more puzzling still, and to the
blockhead who breaks open this letter they will remain unintelligible,
even if I tell you that they are a part of my correspondence. Only
give me frequent tidings, my beloved heart, even if short ones, so
that I may have the assurance that you are alive and well. A have
picked the enclosed leaves for you in the garden of old Amschel
Rothschild, whom I like, because he is simply a haggling Jew, and does
not pretend to be anything else, and, at the same time, a strictly
orthodox Jew, who touches nothing at his dinners, and eats only
"undefiled" food. "Johann dage vid you some bread for de deers," he
said his servant as he came out to show me his garden, in which there
were some tame fallow deer. "Baron, dat blant costs me two thousand
guilders, honor bride, two thousand guilders gash; I vill let you have
it for one thousand or, if you vant it for nuddings, he shall bring id
to your house. God knows I abbrejiate you highly, Baron; you are a
nize man, a brave man." With that he is a little, thin gray imp of a
man, the patriarch of his tribe, but a poor man in his palace,
childless, a widower, cheated by his servants, and ill-treated by
aristocratically Frenchified and Anglicized nephews and nieces who
will inherit his treasures without gratitude and without love.
Good-night, my angel. The clock is striking twelve; I want to go to
bed and read chap. ii. of the Second Epistle of St. Peter. I am now
doing that in a systematic way, and, when I have finished St. Peter,
at your recommendation I shall read the He-brews, which I do not know
at all as yet. May God's protection and blessing be with you all.

Your most faithful v.B.

Frankfort, July 3, 1851.

_My Pet_,--Day before yesterday I very thankfully received your letter
and the tidings that you are all well. But do not forget when you
write to me that the letters are opened not by me alone, but by all
sorts of postal spies, and don't berate particular persons so much in
them, for all that is immediately reported and debited to my account;
besides, you do people injustice. Concerning my appointment or
non-appointment I know nothing as yet, except what was told me when I
left; everything else is possibilities and surmises. The only
crookedness about the matter us far has been the government's silence
towards me, for it would have been only fair to let me know by this,
and officially at that, whether during next month I to live here or in
Pomerania with wife and child. Be careful in your remarks to every one
there, without exception, not to Massow alone; particularly in your
criticisms of individuals, for you have no idea what one experiences
in this respect after once becoming an object of surveillance; be
prepared to see warmed up with sauce, here or at Sans Souci, what you
may perhaps whisper to Charlotte[17] or Annie in the boscages or the
bathing-house. Forgive me for being so admonitory, but after your last
letter I have to take the diplomatic pruning-knife in hand a bit. Do
not write me anything that the police may not read and communicate to
King, ministers, or Rochow. If the Austrians and many other folks can
succeed in sowing distrust in our camp, they will thereby attain one
of the principal objects of their letter-pilfering. Day before
yesterday I took dinner at Wiesbaden, with Dewitz, and, with a mixture
of sadness and knowing wisdom, I inspected the scenes of past
foolishness. Would that it might please God to fill with His clear and
strong wine this vessel, in which at that time the champagne of
twenty-two-year-old youth sparkled uselessly away, leaving stale dregs
behind. Where and how may Isabella Loraine and Miss Russel be living
now? How many of those with whom I then flirted, tippled, and played
dice are now dead and buried! How many transformations has my view of
the world undergone in the fourteen years which have since elapsed,
while I always considered the existing one as alone correct! and how
much is now small to me which then appeared great, how much now
deserving of respect which I then ridiculed! How many a green bud
within us may still come to mature blossom and wither worthlessly away
before another period of fourteen years is over, in 1865, if we are
then still alive! I cannot realize how a person who is thoughtful and,
nevertheless, knows nothing or wishes to know nothing of God, can
endure giving a despised and tedious life, a life which is fleeting as
a stream, as a sleep, even as a blade of grass that soon withers; we
spend our years as in a babble of talk.

I do not know how I endured it in the past; if I should live now as I
did then, without God, without you, without children, I should, in
fact, be at a loss to know why I should not cast off this life like a
soiled shirt; and yet most of my acquaintances are thus, and they
live. If in the case of some one individual I ask myself what reason
he can have, in his own mind, for continuing to live, to toil, to
fret, to intrigue, and to spy--verily I do not know. Do not conclude
from this scribbling that I happen to be in a particularly black mood;
on the contrary, I feel as when, on a beautiful September day, one
contemplates the yellowing foliage; healthy and gay, but a little
sadness, a little homesickness, a longing for woods, lake, meadow, you
and the children, all mingled with the sunset and a Beethoven
symphony. Instead of that I must now call upon tiresome serene
Highnesses and read endless figures about German sloops of war and
cannon-yawls which are rotting at Bremerhaven and devouring
cash. * * * Farewell, my beloved heart. Much love to our parents, and
God keep you all.

Your most faithful v.B.

Frankfort, July 8, 1851.

_My Darling_,--Yesterday and today I wished very much to write to you,
but owing to a hurly burly of business I have not been able to do so
till now, late in the evening, after returning from a walk during
which, in the charming summer-night's air, with moonlight and the
rustling of poplar-leaves, I have brushed off the dust of the day's
documents. On Saturday, in the afternoon, I went with Rochow and Lynar
to Ruedesheim, hired a boat there, rowed out on the Rhine, and swam in
the moonlight, nothing but nose and eyes over the tepid water, as far
as the Mouse Tower near Bingen, where the wicked bishop met his death.
There is something strangely dreamlike in thus lying in the water on a
quiet, warm night, carried gently along by the tide, seeing only the
sky with moon and stars, and, alongside, the wooded hill-tops and the
castle battlements in the moonlight, hearing nothing but the gentle
purling of one's own motion. I should like to swim thus every evening.
Then I drank some very nice wine, and sat for a long time smoking,
with Lynar, on the balcony, the Rhine beneath us. My little Testament
and the starry firmament caused our conversation to turn on Christian
topics, and I hammered for a long time at the Rousseau-like chastity
of his soul, with no other effect than to cause him to remain silent.
He was ill-treated while a child by nurses and private tutors, without
having really learned to know his parents, and by reason of a similar
bringing-up he has retained from his youthful days opinions similar to
my own, but has always been more satisfied with them than I ever was.
Next morning we went by steamer to Coblentz, breakfasted there for an
hour, and returned by the same route to Frankfort, where we arrived in
the evening. I really undertook the expedition with the object of
visiting old Metternich at Johannisberg; he had invited me, but the
Rhine pleased me so much that I preferred to take a pleasure ride to
Coblentz, and postponed the call. You and I saw him that time on our
trip directly after the Alps, and in bad weather; on this summer
morning, and after the dusty tedium of Frankfort, he again rose high
in my esteem. I promise myself much relish from spending a few days
with you at Ruedesheim, the place is so quiet and country-like, good
people and low-priced, and then we shall hire a little rowboat, ride
leisurely down, climb the Niederwald, and this and that castle, and
return by the steamer. One can leave here early in the morning, remain
for eight hours at Ruedesheim, Bingen, Rheinstein, etc., and be here
again at night. My appointment at this place does not appear to be
certain, and Hans is going to Coblentz as Lord-Lieutenant; will live
there in a stately palace, with the finest view in all Prussia. By
leaving here early, one reaches Coblentz by half past ten, and is back
in the evening; that is easier than from Reinfeld to Reddentin, and a
prettier road. You see we are not forsaken here; but who would have
thought, when we went to the wedding in Kiekow, that both of us should
be removed from our innocent Pomeranian solitude and hurled to the
summits of life, speaking in worldly fashion, to political outposts on
the Rhine? The ways of the Lord are passing strange. May He likewise
take our souls out of their darkness and lift them to the bright
summits of His grace. _That_ position would be more secure. But He has
certainly taken us visibly into His hand, and will not let me fall,
even though I sometimes make myself a heavy weight. The interview with
Lynar the other day has truly enabled me to cast a grateful (but not
pharisaical) glance over the distance which lies between me and my
previous unbelief; may it increase continually, until it has attained
the proper measure. * * * I am already beginning to look about here
for a house, preferably outside of the city, with a garden; there my
darling will have to play a very stiff, self-contained part, see much
tedious society, give dinners and balls, and assume terribly
aristocratic airs. What do you say to having dancing at your house
until far into the night? Probably it cannot be avoided, my beloved
heart--that is part of the "service." I can see mother's blue eyes
grow big with wonder at the thought. I am going to bed, to read
Corinthians i., 3, and pray God to preserve you all to me, and grant
you a quiet night and health and peace. Dearest love to your parents.

Your most faithful


Frankfort, April 4, '52.

_Dear Mother_,--I wished to write you today at length, but I do not
know how far I shall progress in it after having given myself up for
so long to enjoyment of Sunday leisure, by taking a long, loitering
walk in the woods, that hardly an hour remains before the closing of
the mail. I found such pretty, solitary paths, quite narrow, between
the greening hazel and thorn-bushes, where only the thrush and the
glede-kite were heard, and quite far off the bell of the church to
which I was playing truant, that I could not find my way home again.
Johanna is somewhat exhausted, in connection with her condition, or I
should have had her in the woods, too, and perhaps we should still be
there. * * * She has presented me with an exquisite anchor watch, of
which I was much in need, because I always wore her small one. In the
Vincke matter I cannot, with you, sufficiently praise God's mercy that
no misfortune has occurred from any side. I believe that for me it was
inwardly very salutary to have felt myself so near unto death, and
prepared myself for it; I know that you do not share my conception of
such matters, but I have never felt so firm in believing trust, and so
resigned to God's will, as I did in the moment when the matter was in
progress. We can discuss it orally some time; now I only want to tell
you how it happened. I had repeatedly been disgusted by V.'s rudeness
to the government and ourselves, and was prepared resolutely to oppose
him at the next opportunity that offered. He accused me of want of
diplomatic discretion, and said that hitherto the "burning cigar" was
my only known achievement. He alluded to an occurrence at the Palace
of the Diet, of which I had previously told him confidentially, at his
particular request, as of something quite unimportant, but comical. I
then retorted from the platform that his remark overstepped not only
the bounds of diplomatic but also of ordinary discretion, which one
had a right to demand from every man of education. Next day he
challenged me, through Herr von Sauken-Julienfelde, for four
pistol-shots; I accepted it after Oscar Arnim's proposal, that we
should fight with swords, had been declined by Sauken. Vincke wished
to defer the matter for forty-eight hours, which I granted. On the
25th, at 8 A.M., we rode to Tegel; to a charming spot in the woods by
the seashore; it was beautiful weather, and the birds sang so gayly in
the sunshine that, as soon as we entered the wood, all sad thoughts
left me; only the thought of Johanna I had to drive from me by force,
so as not to be affected by it. With me as witnesses were Arnim and
Eberhard Stolberg, and my brother as very dejected spectator. With V.
were Sauken, and Major Vincke of the First Chamber, as well as a
Bodelschwingh (nephew of the Minister and of Vincke), as impartial
witness. The latter declared before the matter began that the
challenge seemed to him to be, under the circumstances, too stringent,
and proposed that it should be modified to one shot apiece. Sauken, in
V.'s name, was agreeable to this, and had word brought to me that the
whole thing should be called off if I declared I was sorry for my
remark. As I could not truthfully do this, we took our positions,
fired at Bodelschwingh's command, and both missed. God forgive the
grave sin that I did not at once recognize His mercy, but I cannot
deny it: when I looked through the smoke and saw my adversary standing
erect, a feeling of disappointment prevented me from participating in
the general rejoicing, which caused Bodelschwingh to shed tears; the
modification of the challenge annoyed me, and I would gladly have
continued the combat. But, as I was not the insulted party, I could
say nothing; it was over, and all shook hands. We rode home and I ate
with my sister alone. All the world was dissatisfied with the outcome,
but the Lord must know what He still intends to make of V. In cool
blood, I am certainly very grateful that it happened so. What probably
contributed much to it was the fact that a couple of very good
pistols, which were originally intended to be used, were so loaded
that for the moment they were quite useless, and we had to take those
intended for the seconds, with which it was difficult to hit. An
official disturbance has interrupted me, and now I must close--time is
up. Only I still want to say that I had consulted beforehand, about
the duel, with old Stolberg, General Gerlach, Minister Uhden and Hans;
they were all of opinion that it must be; Buechsel, too, saw no
alternative, although he admonished me to desist. I spent an hour in
prayer, with him and Stolberg, the evening before. I never doubted
that I should have to appear, but I did doubt whether I should shoot
at V. I did it without anger, and missed. Now farewell, my dearly
beloved mother. Give love to father and every one from

Your faithful son, v.B.

Vienna, June 14, '52.

_My Beloved Heart_,--At this hour I ought to sit down and write
a long report to his Majesty concerning a lengthy and fruitless
negotiation which I had today with Count Buol, and concerning an
audience with the Archduchess Empress-Dowager. But I have just taken
a promenade on the high ramparts all round the inner city, and from
them seen a charming sunset behind the Leopoldsberg, and now I am much
more inclined to think of you than of business. I stood for a long
time on the red Thor Tower, which commands a view of the Jaegerzeil
and of our old-time domicile, the Lamb, with the cafe before it; at
the Archduchess' I was in a room which opens on the homelike little
garden into which we once secretly and thoughtlessly found our way;
yesterday I heard _Lucia_--Italian, very good; all this so stirs
my longing for you that I am quite sad and incapable. For it is terrible
to be thus alone in the world, when one is no longer accustomed to it; I
am in quite a Lynaric mood. Nothing but calls, and coming to know
strangers, with whom I am always having the same talk. Every one knows
that I have not yet been here very long, but whether I was ever here
before; that is the great question which I have answered two hundred
times in these days, and happy that that topic still remains. For folk
bent on pleasure this may be a very pretty place, for it offers whatever
is capable of affording outward diversion to people. But I am longing
for Frankfort as if it were Kniephof, and do not wish to come here by
any means. F. must lie just where the sun went down, over the
Mannhartsberg yonder; and, while it was sinking here, it still continued
shining with you for over half an hour. It is terribly far. How
different it was with you here my heart, and with Salzburg and Meran in
prospect; I have grown terribly old since then. * * * It is very cruel
that we must spend such a long period of our brief life apart; that time
is lost, then, and cannot be brought back. God alone knows why He allows
others to remain together who are quite at their ease when apart; like
an aged friend of mine, who travelled with me as far as Dresden had to
sit in the same compartment with his wife all the time, and could not
smoke; and we must always correspond at a great distance. We shall make
up for it all, and love each other a great deal more when we are again
together; if only we keep well! Then I shall not murmur. Today I had the
great pleasure of receiving, _via_ Berlin, your letter of last Thursday;
that is the second one since I left Frankfort; surely none is lost? I
was very happy and thankful that all of you are well. * * * As soon as I
find myself once more on the old, tiresome Thuringian railroad I shall
be out of myself, and still more so when I catch a glimpse of our light
from Bockenheim; I must travel about nine hundred miles thither, not
including two hundred and fifty miles from Pesth back to this place. How
gladly I shall undertake them, once I am seated in the train! I shall
probably abandon my trip by way of Munich; from this place to M. is a
post-trip of fifty hours; by water still longer; and I shall have to
render a verbal report in Berlin, anyway. About politics I can,
fortunately, write nothing; for, even if the English courier who takes
this to Berlin is a safeguard against our post-office, the Taxis
scoundrels will, nevertheless, get hold of it.

Be sure to write me detailed information as to your personal
condition. Greet mother, our relations, if they are still there,
Leontine, the children, Stolberg, Wentzel, and all the rest. Farewell
my angel. God preserve you.

Your most faithful v.B.

Ofen, June 23, '52.

_My Darling_,--I have just left the steamer, and do not know how
better to utilize the moment at my disposal until Hildebrand follows
with my things than by sending you a love-token from this far-easterly
but pretty spot. The Emperor has graciously assigned me quarters in
his palace, and I am sitting here in a large vaulted chamber at the
open window, into which the evening bells of Pesth are pealing. The
view outward is charming. The castle stands high; immediately below me
the Danube, spanned by the suspension-bridge; behind it Pesth, which
would remind you of Dantzig, and farther away the endless plain
extending far beyond Pesth, disappearing in the bluish-red dusk of
evening. To the left of Pesth I look up the Danube, far, very far,
away; to my left, _i.e._, on the right-hand shore, it is fringed first
by the city of Ofen, behind it hills like the Berici near Venetia blue
and bluer, then bluish-red in the evening sky, which glows behind. In
the midst of both cities is the large sheet of water as at Linz,
intersected by the suspension-bridge and a wooded island. It is really
splendid; only you, my angel, are lacking for me to enjoy this
prospect _with you_; then it would be _quite_ nice. Then, too, the
road hither, at least from Gran to Pesth, would have pleased you.
Imagine Odenwald and Taunus moved close together, the waters of the
Danube filling the interval; and occasionally, particularly near
Wisserad, a little Duerrenstein-Agstein. The shady side of the trip was
the sunny side; it burned as if they wanted tokay to grow on the
steamer, and the crowd of travelers was large; but, just imagine, not
one Englishman; it must be that they have not yet discovered Hungary.
For the rest, there were queer fellows enough, dirty and washed, of
all Oriental and Occidental nations. * * * By this time I am becoming
impatient as to Hildebrand's whereabouts; I am lying in the window,
half musing in the moonlight, half waiting for him as for a mistress,
for I long for a clean shirt. * * * If you were here for only a
moment, and could contemplate now the dull, silvery Danube, the dark
hills on a pale-red background, and the lights which are shining up
from Pesth below, Vienna would lose much in your estimation compared
to Buda-Pescht, as the Hungarian calls it. You see I am not only a
lover, but also an enthusiast, for nature. Now I shall soothe my
excited blood with a cup of tea, after Hildebrand has actually put in
an appearance, and shall then go to bed and dream of you, my love.
Last night I had only four hours of sleep, and the court here is
terribly matutinal; the young gentleman himself rises as early as five
o 'clock, so that I should be a bad courtier if I were to sleep much
longer. Therefore I bid you good-night from afar, with a side-glance
at a gigantic teapot and an enticing plate of cold jellied cuts,
tongue, as I see, among the rest. Where did I get that song that
occurs to me continually today--"_Over the blue mountain, over the
white sea-foam, come, thou beloved one, come to thy lonely home_"? I
don't know who must have sung that to me, some time in _auld lang
syne_. May God's angels keep you today as hitherto.

Your most faithful v.B.

The 24th.

After having slept very well, although on a wedge-shaped pillow, I bid
you good-morning, my heart. The whole panorama before me is bathed in
such a bright, burning sun that I cannot look out at all without being
blinded. Until I begin my calls I am sitting here breakfasting and
smoking all alone in a very spacious apartment--four rooms, all
thickly vaulted, two something like our dining-room in size, thick
walls as at Schoenhausen, gigantic nut-wood closets, blue silk
furnishings, a profusion of large spots on the floor, an ell in size,
which a more excited fancy than mine might take for blood, but which I
decidedly declare to be ink; an unconscionably awkward scribe must
have lodged here, or another Luther repeatedly hurled big inkstands
at his opponents. * * * Exceedingly strange figures, brown, with broad
hats and wide trousers, are floating about on long wooden rafts in the
Danube below. I regret I am not an artist; I should like to let you
see these wild faces, mustached, long-haired with excited black eyes,
and the ragged, picturesque drapery which hangs about them, as they
appeared to me all day yesterday. * * * Farewell, my heart. God bless
you and our present and future children.

Your most faithful v.B.


I have not yet found an opportunity to send this. Again the lights are
shining up from Pesth, lightning appears on the horizon in the
direction of the Theiss, and there is starlight above us. I have been
in uniform most of the day, handed my credentials to the young ruler
of this country at a solemn audience, and received a very pleasing
impression of him--twenty-year-old vivacity, coupled with studied
composure. He _can_ be very winning, I have seen that; whether he
always will, I do not know, and he need not, for that matter. At any
rate, he is for this country exactly what it needs, and more than that
for the peace of its neighbors, if God does not give him a
peace-loving heart. After dinner all the court went on an excursion
into the mountains, to a romantic spot called the Pretty Shepherdess,
who has long been dead, King Matthias Corvinus having loved her many
hundred years ago. Thence the view is over woody hills, like those on
the Neckar banks to Ofen, its castle, and the plain. A popular
festival had brought thousands up to it, and the Emperor, who mingled
with them, was surrounded with noisy cheers; Czardas danced, waltzed,
sang, played, climbed into the trees, and crowded the court-yard. On a
grassy slope was a supper-table of about twenty persons, sitting along
one side only, leaving the other free for a view of wood, hill, city,
and country, high beeches over us, with Hungarians climbing among the
branches; behind us a densely crowded and crowding mass of people near
by, and, beyond, alternate horn-music and singing, wild gipsy
melodies. Illumination, moonlight, and evening glow, interspersed with
torches through the wood; the whole might have been served, unaltered,
as a great scenic effect in a romantic opera. Beside me sat the
whitebearded Archbishop of Gran, primate of Hungary, in a black silk
talar, with a red cape; on the other side a very amiable and elegant
general of cavalry, Prince Liechtenstein. You see, the painting was
rich in contrasts. Then we rode home by moonlight, escorted by
torches; and while I smoke my evening cigar I am writing to my
darling, and leaving the documents until tomorrow. * * * I have
listened today to the story of how this castle was stormed by the
insurgents three years ago, when the brave General Hentzi and the
entire garrison were cut down after a wonderfully heroic defence. The
black spots on my floor are in part burns, and where I am now writing
to you the shells then danced about, and the combat finally raged on
top of smoking _debris_. It was only put in order again a few weeks
ago, against the Emperor's arrival. Now it is very quiet and cozy up
here; I hear only the ticking of a clock and distant rolling of wheels
from below. For the second time from this place I bid you good-night
in the distance. May angels watch over you--a grenadier with a
bear-skin cap does that for me here; I see his bayonet two arm-lengths
away from me, projecting six inches above the windowsill, and
reflecting my light. He is standing on the terrace over the Danube,
and is, perhaps, thinking of his Nan, too.

Tomsjoenaes, August 16, '57.

_My Dearest,_--I make use again of the Sunday quiet to give you a sign
of life, though I do not know what day there will be a chance to send
it out of this wilderness to the mail. I rode about seventy miles
without break, through the desolate forest, in order to reach here,
and before me lie more than a hundred miles more before one gets to
provinces of arable land. Not a city, not a village, far and wide;
only single settlers in wide huts, with a little barley and potatoes,
who find rods of land to till, here and there between dead trees,
pieces of rock, and bushes. Picture to yourself about five hundred
square miles of such desolate country as that around Viartlum, high
heather, alternating with short grass and bog, and with birches,
junipers pines, beeches, oaks, alders, here impenetrably thick, there
thin and barren of foliage, the whole strewn with innumerable stones
of all sizes up to that of a house, smelling of wild rosemary and
rosin, at intervals wonderfully shaped lakes surrounded by woods and
hills of the heath, then you have the land of Smaa, where I am just
now. Really, the land of my dreams, inaccessible to despatches,
colleagues, and Reitzenstein, but unfortunately, to you as well. I
should like ever so much to have a hunting-castle on one of these
quiet lakes and inhabit it for some months with all the dear ones whom
I think of now as assembled in Reinfeld. In winter, to be sure, it
would not be endurable here, especially in the mud that all the rain
would make. Yesterday we turned out at about five, hunted, in burning
heat, up-hill and down, through bush and fen, until eleven, and found
absolutely nothing; walking in bogs and impenetrable juniper thickets,
on large stones and timbers, is very fatiguing. Then we slept in a
hay-shed until two o'clock, drank lots of milk, and hunted again until
sunset, bringing down twenty-five grouse and two mountain-hens. I shot
four of the former; Engel, to his great delight, one of the latter.
Then we dined in the hunting-lodge, a remarkable wooden building on a
peninsula in the lake. My sleeping-room and its three chairs, two
tables, and bedstead are of no other color than that of the natural
pine-boards, like the whole house, whose walls are made of these. A
sofa does not exist; bed very hard; but after such hardships as ours
one does not need to be rocked to sleep. From my window I see a
blooming hill rise from the heath, on it birches rocking in the wind,
and between them I see, in the lake mirror, pine-woods on the other
side. Near the house a camp has been put up for hunters, drivers,
servants, and peasants, then the barricade of wagons, a little city of
dogs, eighteen or twenty huts on both sides of a lane which they form;
from each a throng looks out tired from yesterday's hunt. * * *

Petersburg, April 4, '59.

_My Dear Heart_,--Now that the rush of today noon is past, I sit down
in the evening to write you a few more lines in peace. When I closed
my letter today I did it with the intention of writing to you next a
birthday letter, and thought I had plenty of time for it; it is only
the 23d of March here. I have thought it over, and find that a letter
must go out today exactly to reach Frankfort on the 11th; it is hard
to get used to the seven days' interval which the post needs. So I
hurry my congratulations. May God grant you His rich blessing in soul
and body, for all your love and truth, and give you resignation and
contentment in regard to the various new conditions of life, contrary
to your inclinations, which you will meet here. We cannot get rid of
the sixtieth degree of latitude, and we have not chosen our own lot.
Many live happily here, although the ice is still solid as rock, and
more snow fell in the night, and there are no garden and no Taunus

I could get along very well indeed here if I only knew the same of
you, and, above all, if I had you with me. All official matters--and
in them rests really the calling which in this world has fallen to my
lot, and which you, through your significant "Yes" in the Kolziglow
church, are bound to help bear in joy and sorrow--all official matters
are, in comparison with Frankfort, changed from thorns to roses;
whether they will ever blossom is, indeed, uncertain. The aggravations
of the Diet and the palace venom look from here like childishness. If
we do not wantonly make ourselves disagreeable, we are welcome here.
Whenever the carriages are called here, and "_Prusku passlanika"_
("Prussian carriage") is cried out among those waiting, then all the
Russians look about with pleasant smiles, as though they had just
popped down a ninety-degree glass of schnapps. There is some social
affair every evening, and the people are different from those in
Frankfort. Your aversion to court life will weaken. You cannot fail to
like the Czar; you have seen him already--have you not! He is
extremely gracious to me, as well as the Czarina--the young Czarina, I
mean. And it is easy to get along with the mother, in spite of her
imposing presence. I dined with her today with the Meiendorfs and
Loen,[18] and it was just like that dinner at our house with Prince
Carl and the Princess Anna, when we enjoyed ourselves so much. In
short, only take courage, and things will come out all right. So far I
have only agreeable impressions; the only thing that provokes me is
that smoking is not allowed on the street. One can have no idea in
what disfavor the Austrians are over here; a mangy dog will not take a
piece of meat from them. I am sorry for poor Szechenyi; I do not
dislike him. They will either drive things to a war from here, or let
it come, and then they will stick the bayonet into the Austrians'
backs; however peacefully people talk, and however I try to soften
things down, as my duty demands, the hatred is unlimited, and goes
beyond all my expectations. Since coming here I begin to believe in
war. There seems to be no room in Russian politics for any other
thought than how to strike at Austria. Even the quiet, mild Czar falls
into rage and fire whenever he talks about it, as does the Czarina,
although a Darmstadt Princess; and it is touching when the Dowager
Czarina talks of her husband's broken heart, and of Francis Joseph,
whom he loved as a son, really without anger, but as if speaking of
one who is exposed to God's vengeance. Now I have still much to write
for the carrier tomorrow, and this you will not receive, I suppose,
until two days after your dear birthday, just when I am celebrating
mine by the calendar here. Farewell, my dear, and give each child a
sweet orange from me. Love to all.

Your most faithful v.B.

Petersburg, June 4, '59.

_My Dear Heart_,--At last, day before yesterday, came the
long-yearned-for news from you, with the reassuring post-mark, Stolp.
I could not go to sleep at all in the evening, because of anxious
pictures of my imagination, whose scenes were all the stopping-places
between Berlin and Reinfeld. * * * Yesterday I dined at the Czarina's,
in Zarske, where I found the Grand Princess Marie, who could tell me
at least that she had seen you in Berlin, and that you were all right.
On the way back the Czar met me at the station, and took me into his
coupe--very conspicuous here for a civilian with such an old hat as I
generally wear. In the evening I was, of course, on the islands, on a
lively dark-brown horse, and drank tea there with a nice, old,
white-haired Countess Stroganoff. The lilac, I must tell you, has
flowered here as beautifully as in Frankfort, and the laburnum, too;
and the nightingales warble so happily that it is hard to find a spot
on the islands where one does not hear them. In the city, during these
days, we had such unremitting heat as we almost never have at home.
The captain of the _Eagle_ told me that the temperature in southern
Pomerania was actually refreshing in comparison; with such short
nights, too, the morning brings no real coolness, and I could ride or
drive about for hours in the mysterious gloaming which hovers at
midnight over the surface of the water, if the increasing brightness
did not give warning that another day is waiting with its work and
care, and that sleep demands its rights beforehand. Since I have had
the drosky, in which there is too little room for an interpreter, I am
making, to the smirking delight of Dmitri, the coachman, progress in
Russian, since there is nothing left for me to do but to speak it
_tant bien que mal_. I am sorry that you have not been able to watch
with me the sudden awakening of spring here; as if it had suddenly
occurred to her that she had overslept her time, she is putting on, in
twenty-four hours, her entire green dress, from head to foot. * * *
This whole preparation for war is somewhat premature, and is causing
us unnecessary expense. I hope we shall come to our senses finally
before setting all Europe on fire, for the sake of obliging some
little princes, and, at our own cost, helping Austria in glory out of
her embarrassment. We cannot allow Austria either to be annihilated
or, through brilliant victory, to be strengthened in her feeling of
self-confidence and to make us the footstool of her greatness. But
there is plenty of time for either case before we take the plunge, and
many a piece of Lombard water can be dyed red, for things will not go
forward so easily as hitherto when the Austrians have once placed
themselves in their line of forts, as they should have done at the
first. * * *

It is a misfortune that I always write to you in a steaming hurry; now
the foxy face of the chancery servant, who is in the police pay,
besides, is before me again already, and is hurrying me up, and
everything I wanted to say is shrivelling before the fellow, who is
useful, however. I was just thinking of much more that I wanted to
write, and now I do not know anything except that I should like to
beat him. * * * In the greatest love,

Your most faithful v.B.

Moscow, June 6, '59.

A sign of life, at least, I want to send you from here, my dear, while
I am waiting for the samovar, and a young Russian in a red shirt is
struggling, with vain attempts, to light a fire; he blows and sighs,
but it will not burn. After complaining so much before about the
scorching heat I waked up today between Twer and here, and thought I
was dreaming when I saw the land and its fresh green covered far and
wide with snow. Nothing surprises me any more so when I could no
longer be in doubt about the fact I turned quietly on my other side to
continue sleeping and rolling on, although the play of the
green-and-white colors in the morning red was not without charm. I do
not know whether the snow still lies about Twer; here it is all
melted, and a cool, gray rain is drizzling down on the sheet of roofs.
Russia certainly has a perfect right to claim green as her color. Of
the four hundred and fifty miles hither I slept away one hundred and
eighty, but of the other two hundred and seventy every hand's-breadth
was green, of all shades. Cities and villages, especially houses, with
the exception of the stations, I did not notice; bushy forests,
chiefly birches, cover swamps and hills, fine growth of grass under
them, long meadows between. So it goes for fifty, one hundred, one
hundred and fifty miles. I don't remember to have noticed any fields,
or any heather or sand; lonely grazing cows or horses waken in one now
and then the conjecture that there are people, too, in the
neighborhood. Moscow looks from above like a corn-field, the soldiers
green, the furniture green, and I have no doubt that the eggs lying
before me were laid by green hens. You will want to know how I happen
to be here; I have asked myself the same question, and presently
received the answer that variety is the spice of life. The truth of
this profound observation is especially obvious when one has been
living for ten weeks in a sunny hotel-room, looking out upon stone
pavements. Besides, one's senses become somewhat blunted to the joys
of moving, if repeated often in a short time, so I determined to
forego these same pleasures, handed over all papers to Klueber, gave
Engel my keys, explained that I should take up my lodgings in the
Stenbock house in a week, and rode to the Moscow station. That was
yesterday, twelve noon, and today early, at eight, I alighted here at
the Hotel de France. * * * It lies in the nature of this people to
harness slowly and drive fast. I ordered my carriage two hours ago,
and to all inquiries which I have been making about every ten minutes
during the last hour and a half they say (Russian), "_Ssitschass_,"
("immediately"), with unshaken and amiable calm, but there the matter
ends. You know my exemplary patience in waiting, but everything has
its limits; hunting comes later, and horses and carriages are broken
in the bad roads, so that one finally takes to walking. While writing
I have drunk three glasses of tea and made way with a number of eggs;
the attempts at heating up have also been so entirely successful that
I feel the need of getting some fresh air. I should shave myself for
very impatience if I had a mirror, in default of which, however, I
shall send a greeting to my dear Tata, with yesterday's stubble beard.
It is very virtuous really that my first thought is always of you
whenever I have a moment free, and you should make an example of that
fact. Very rambling is this city, and especially foreign-looking, with
its churches and green roofs and countless cupolas, quite different
from Amsterdam, but the two are the most original cities that I know.
Not a single German conductor has any idea of the luggage that can be
slipped into one of these coupes; not a Russian without two real,
covered head-cushions, children in baskets, and masses of provisions
of every sort, although they eat five big meals at the stations on the
way, breakfast at two, dinner five, tea seven, supper ten; it's only
four, to be sure, but enough for the short time. I was complimented by
an invitation into a sleeping-coupe, where I was worse off than in my
easy-chair; it is a wonder to me that so much fuss is made over one

Moscow, June 8th.

This city is really, for a city, the most beautiful and original that
there is; the environs are pleasant, not pretty, not unsightly; but
the view from above out of the Kremlin, over this circle of houses
with green roofs, gardens, churches, towers of the most extraordinary
shape and color, most of them green or red or light blue, generally
crowned on top by a colossal golden bulb, usually five or more on
one church, and surely one thousand towers! Anything more strangely
beautiful than all this, lighted by slanting sunset rays, cannot be

Painting by Adolph von Menzel.]

The weather is clear again, and I should stay here some days longer if
rumors of a big battle in Italy were not going about, which may result
in lots of diplomatic work, so that I must get back to my post. The
house in which I am writing is wonderful enough, really; one of the
few that have outlived 1812--old, thick walls, as in Schoenhausen,
Oriental architecture, Moorish, large rooms, almost entirely occupied
by the chancery officers, who administer, or maladminister, Jussupow's
estates. He, his wife, and I have the one livable wing in the midst of
them. Lots of love.

Your most faithful v.B.

Petersburg, July 2, '59.

_My Dear Heart_,--I received your letter of the 25th yesterday, and
you will probably get tomorrow the one that I sent to Stettin on
Wednesday with the Dowager Czarina. My homesick heart follows its
course with yearning thoughts; it was such charming clear weather and
fresh winds when we escorted her Highness on board in Peterhof that I
should have liked to leap on the ship, in uniform and without baggage,
and go along with her. Since then the heat has grown worse, about the
temperature of a freely watered palm-house, and my lack of summer
materials is making itself decidedly felt. I go about in the rooms in
my shirt alone, as the dear blue dressing-gown is too narrow, even now
at six o'clock in the morning. A courier wakened me half an hour ago,
with his war and peace, and I cannot sleep any more now, although I
did not get to bed until towards two. Our politics are drifting more
and more into the Austrian wake, and as soon as we have fired a shot
on the Rhine then it's all over with the war between Italy and
Austria, and, instead of that, a war between France and Prussia will
take the stage, in which Austria, after we have taken the burden from
her shoulders, will stand by us or will not stand by us, just as her
own interests dictate. She will certainly not suffer us to play a
gloriously victorious role. It is quite remarkable that in such crises
Catholic ministers always hold the reins of our destiny--Radowitz once
before, now Hohenzollern, who just now has the predominant influence,
and is in favor of war. I look very darkly into the future; our troops
are not better than the Austrian, because they only serve half as
long; and the German troops, on whose support we reckon, are for the
most part quite wretched, and, if things go ill with us, their leaders
will fall away from us like dry leaves in the wind. But God, who can
hold up and throw down Prussia, and the world, knows why these things
must be, and we will not embitter ourselves against the land in which
we were born, and against the authorities for whose enlightenment we
pray. After thirty years, perhaps much sooner, it will be a small
matter to us how things stand with Prussia and Austria, if only the
mercy of God and the deserving of Christ remain to our souls. I opened
the Scriptures last evening, at random, so as to rid my anxious heart
of politics, and my eye lighted immediately on the 5th verse of the
110th Psalm. As God wills--it is all, to be sure, only a question of
time, nations and people, folly and wisdom, war and peace; they come
and go like waves of water, and the sea remains. What are our states
and their power and honor before God, except as ant-hills and
bee-hives which the hoof of an ox tramples down, or fate, in the form
of a honey-farmer, overtakes? * * * Farewell, my sweetheart, and learn
to experience life's folly in sadness; there is nothing in this world
but hypocrisy and jugglery, and whether fever or grape-shot shall bear
away this mass of flesh, fall it must, sooner or later, and then such
a resemblance will appear between a Prussian and an Austrian, if they
are of the same size, like Schrech and Rechberg, for example, that it
will be difficult to distinguish between them; the stupid and the
clever, too, properly reduced to the skeleton state, look a good deal
like each other. Patriotism for a particular country is destroyed by
this reflection, but we should have to despair in any case, even now,
were it linked with our salvation. Farewell once more, with love to
parents and children. How impatient I am to see them! As soon as
_Vriendschap_--so our vessel is called--is in sight, I shall
telegraph. With love, as always,

Your most faithful VON B.

Paris, May 31, '62.

_My Dear Heart_,--Only a few lines in the press of business to tell
you I am well, but very lonely, with a view out over the green, in
this dull, rainy weather, while the bumble-bees hum and the sparrows
twitter. Grand audience tomorrow. It's vexatious that I have to buy
linen, towels, table-cloths, and sheets. * * * Farewell. Hearty love,
and write! Your most faithful v.B.

Paris, June 1, '62.

_My Dear Heart_,--The Emperor received me today, and I handed over my
credentials; he received me kindly, is looking well, has grown
somewhat stouter, but by no means fat and aged, as he generally is in
caricatures. The Empress is still one of the most beautiful women I
know, in spite of Petersburg; she has, if anything, grown more
beautiful in the past five years. The whole affair was official,
ceremonial; I was taken back in court-carriage with master of
ceremonies, etc. Next time I shall probably have a private audience. I
long for business, for I don't know what to do with myself. Today I
dined alone, the young gentlemen were out; the entire evening rain;
and at home alone. To whom should I go? In the midst of big Paris I am
lonelier than you are at Reinfeld, and sit here like a rat in a
deserted house. The only pleasure I have had was sending the cook away
because of overcharges. You know my indulgence in this matter, but
Rembours was a child in comparison. I am dining for the present in a
cafe. How long that will last, God knows. I shall probably receive a
summons, by telegram, to Berlin, in eight or ten days, and then
good-by to this song-and-dance. If my opponents only knew what a boon
their victory would be to me, and how heartily I desire it! Then
Rechberg would, perhaps, out of malice, do his best to have me called
to Berlin. You can't have any more aversion to Wilhelmstrasse than
myself, and if I am not persuaded that it must be, then I will not go.
I consider it cowardice and disloyalty to leave the King in the lurch,
under pretence of illness. If it is not to be, then God will permit
those who search to find another _princillon_ who will offer himself
as cover for the pot. If it is to be, then "_s'Bogom"_ ("with God"),
as our Russian drivers used to say, when they took up the reins. * * *

Your v.B.

Bordeaux, July 27, '62.

_My Dear Heart_,--You cannot refuse to testify that I am a good
correspondent; I wrote this morning from Chenonceaux to your
birthday-child, and now this evening, from the city of red wine, to
you. But these lines will arrive a day later than those, as the mail
does not leave until tomorrow afternoon. I left Paris only day before
yesterday noon, but it seems to me a week. I have seen very beautiful
castles--Chambord, of which the enclosure (torn out of a book) gives
only an imperfect idea, corresponds, in its desolation, to the fate of
its owner (I hope you know it belongs to the Duke of Bordeaux). In the
wide halls and magnificent rooms, where so many kings kept their
court, with their mistresses and their hunting, the Duke's only
furniture consists now of the children's toys. My guide took me for a
French Legitimist, and squeezed out a tear as she showed me the little
cannon. I paid for the tear-drop, tariff-wise, with an extra franc,
although it is not my vocation to subsidize Carlism. The castle
court-yards lay in the sun as quiet as deserted churches; there is a
distant view round about from the towers, but on all sides silent
woods and heather to the farthest horizon; not a city, not a village,
not a farm-house, either near the castle or in the region round it.
The enclosed sprigs, specimens of heather, will no longer show you how
purple this plant I love so much blooms here, the only flower in the
royal garden, and swallows the only living creatures in the castle; it
is too solitary for sparrows. The situation of the old castle of
Amboise is glorious; from the top you can look up and down the Loire
for about thirty miles. Coming from there to this place one passes
gradually into the south; wheat disappears, giving way to maize;
between, twining vines and chestnut woods, castles and country-seats,
with many towers, chimneys, and gables, all white, with high-pointed
slate roofs. It was boiling hot, and I was very glad to have a
half-coupe to myself. In the evening glorious lightning in the whole
eastern sky, and now an agreeable coolness, which I should find sultry
at home. The sun set at 7.35; in Petersburg one can see now, without a
light, at eleven o'clock. As yet there is no letter for me here;
perhaps I shall find one in Bayonne. I shall stay here probably two
days, to see where our wines grow. Now, good-night, my angel. Dearest
love. Your most faithful v.B.

San Sebastian, August 1, '62.

_My Dear Heart_,--I could not have believed last year that I should
celebrate Bill's birthday this time in Spain. I shall not fail to
drink his health in dark red wine, and pray God earnestly to take and
keep all of you under His protection; it is now half past three, and I
imagine you have just got up from table and are sitting in the front
hall at your coffee, if the sun permits. The sun is probably not so
scalding there as it is here, but it doesn't do me any harm, and I am
feeling splendidly well. The route from Bayonne here is glorious; on
the left the Pyrenees, something like the Dent du Midi and Moleson,
which, however, are here called "Pie" and "Port," in shifting
Alpine panorama, on the right the shores of the sea, like those at
Genoa. The change in entering Spain is surprising; at Behobie, the
last place in France, one could easily believe one's self still on the
Loire; in Fuentarabia a steep street twelve feet wide, every window
with balcony and curtain, every balcony with black eyes and mantillas,
beauty and dirt; at the market-place drums and fifes, and some
hundreds of women, old and young, dancing a fandango, while the men in
their drapery looked on, smoking. Thus far the country is
exceptionally beautiful--green valleys and wooded slopes, with
fantastic lines of fortifications above them, row after row; inlets of
the sea, with very narrow entrances, which cut deep into the land,
like Salzburg lakes in mountain basins. I look down on such a one from
my window, separated from the sea by an island of rocks, set in a
steep frame of mountains with woods and houses, below to the left city
and harbor. My old friend Galen, who is taking the baths here, with
wife and son, received me most warmly; I bathed with him at ten, and
after breakfast we walked, or, rather, crawled, through the heat up to
the citadel, and sat for a long time on a bench there, the sea a
hundred feet below us, near us a heavy fortress-battery, with a
singing sentry. This hill or rock would be an island did not a low
tongue of land connect it with the mainland. This tongue of land
separates two inlets from each other, so you get towards the north a
distant view of the sea from the citadel, towards the east and west a
view of both inlets, like two Swiss lakes, and towards the south of
the tongue of land, with the town on it, and behind it, landward,
mountains as high as the heavens. I wish I could paint you a picture
of it, and if we both were fifteen years younger then we would take a
trip here together. Tomorrow, or day after, I go back to Bayonne. * * * I
am very much sunburned, and should have liked best to float on the
ocean for an hour today; the water bears me up like a piece of wood.
It is still just cool enough to be pleasant. By the time one gets to
the dressing-room one is almost dry, and I put on my hat, only, and
take a walk in my peignoir. The ladies bathe fifty paces away--custom
of the country. * * * I do not like the Spaniards so well as I like
their country; they are not polite, talk too loud, and the conditions
are in many ways behind those in Russia. Custom-houses and passport
annoyances without end, an incredible number of turnpike tolls, four
francs for one hour's drive, or else I should stay here still longer,
instead of bathing in Biarritz, where a bathing-suit is necessary.
Love to our dear parents and children. Farewell, my angel.

Your v.B.

Biarritz, August 4, '62.

* * * I am sitting in a corner room of the Hotel de l'Europe, with a
charming lookout over the blue sea, which drives its white foam
between wonderful cliffs and against the light-house. I have a bad
conscience, seeing so many beautiful things without you. If one could
only bring you hither through the air, I would go right back again to
San Sebastian. Imagine the Siebengebirge with the Drachenfels placed
by the sea; next to it Ehrenbreitstein, and between the two an arm of
the sea, somewhat wider than the Rhine, forcing its way into the land,
and forming a round bay behind the mountains. In this you bathe in
water transparently clear, and so heavy and salty that you can lie
easily right on top of it and can look through the wide gate of rocks
to the sea, or landward, where the mountain chains tower up one after
another ever higher and ever bluer. The women of the middle and lower
classes are strikingly pretty, sometimes beautiful; the men surly and
impolite, and the comforts of life to which we are accustomed in
civilized lands are entirely lacking. In this respect I find Russia
pleasanter to travel in than Spain. What actually drove me out of the
country was the swinishness in certain indispensable arrangements, and
then the cheating in the hotels, and the tolls. The heat there is no
worse than here, and doesn't bother me; on the contrary, I am very
well, thank Heaven. Day before yesterday there was a storm whose like
I have never seen. I had to make three attempts before I succeeded in
climbing the flight of four steps at the head of the pier. Pieces of
stone and of trees flew through the air; so I unfortunately gave up my
place in a sailing-vessel for Bayonne, as I didn't believe it possible
that all would be quiet and cheerful again in four hours' time; so I
missed a charming sail along the coast, stayed one day longer in San
Sebastian, and left yesterday by the diligence, rather uncomfortably
packed in between attractive little Spanish women, to whom I could not
speak a single word. Still, they understood Italian enough for me to
make clear to them my satisfaction with their exterior. Gr. Gallen and
wife were very kind to me. As I was looking for a fan, they presented
me with theirs for you; it is simple, but painted in style
characteristic of the country. You would like the wife very much; he,
too, is a good fellow, but she amounts to more intellectually. I got
Bernhard's long-expected letter today. He looks very black over
politics, is expecting another child, and is building barns and
stables. I long for news from you and the children. * * * Dearest love
to all.

Your most faithful v.B.

Biarritz, August 10, '62.

_My Beloved Heart,-- * * * I am living about as at Stolpemuende, only
without champagne; I drank some with Orloff today, for the first time
since I left Paris. In the afternoon I wander about among the cliffs,
heaths, and fields, see orchards with aloe, figs, almonds, and borders
of tamarinds, then I do some target-shooting, take my bath, sit on the
rocks smoking, gazing at the sea, and thinking of you all. Politics I
have entirely forgotten; don't read any papers. The 15th has some
claims upon me; for propriety's sake I ought to go to Paris, too,
since I am in France, so as to congratulate the Emperor, hear his
speech, and attend the dinner. But I shall hardly bring myself to the
point of traveling over five hundred miles and interrupting the
air-and-water cure, which is doing me so much good that I actually
hate the thought of the dusty, close air of the royal residence. The
Emperor is too reasonable a gentleman to take my absence amiss, and
from Berlin I have an honest leave of absence. * * * Farewell, my
angel, with dearest love.

Your most faithful v.B.

Hohenmauth, Monday, September 7, '66.

Do you remember, sweetheart, how we passed through here nineteen years
ago, on the way from Prague to Vienna? No mirror showed the future
then, nor in 1852, when I went over this railway with good Lynar. How
strangely romantic are God's ways! We are doing well, in spite of
Napoleon; if we are not unmeasured in our claims and do not imagine we
have conquered the world, we shall achieve a peace that is worth the
trouble. But we are as easily intoxicated as disheartened, and it is
my thankless part to pour water into the foaming wine, and to insist
that we do not live alone in Europe, but with three other powers which
hate and envy us. The Austrians hold position in Moravia, and we are
bold enough to announce our headquarters for tomorrow at the point
where they are now. Prisoners still keep passing in, and cannon, one
hundred and eighty from the 3d to today. If they bring up their
southern army, we shall, with God's gracious help, defeat it too;
confidence is universal. Our people are ready to embrace one another,
every man so deadly in earnest, calm, obedient, orderly, with empty
stomach, soaked clothes, wet camp, little sleep, shoe-soles dropping
off, kindly to all, no sacking or burning, paying what they can and
eating mouldy bread. There must surely be a solid basis of fear of God
in the common soldier of our army, or all this could not be. News of
our friends is hard to get; we lie miles apart from one another, none
knowing where the other is, and nobody to send--that is, men might be
had, but no horses. For four days I have had search made for
Philip,[19] who was slightly wounded by a lance-thrust in the head, as
Gerhard[20] wrote me, but I can't find out where he is, and we have now
come thirty-seven miles farther. The King exposed himself greatly on
the 3d and it was well I was present, for all the warnings of others
had no effect, and no one would have dared to talk so sharply to him
as I allowed myself to do on the last occasion, which gave support to
my words, when a knot of ten cuirassiers and fifteen horses of the
Sixth Cuirassier Regiment rushed confusedly by us, all in blood, and
the shells whizzed around most disagreeably close to the King. He
cannot yet forgive me for having blocked for him the pleasure of being
hit. "At the spot where I was forced by order of the supreme authority
to run away," were his words only yesterday, pointing his finger
angrily at me. But I like it better so than if he were excessively
cautious. He was full of enthusiasm over his troops, and justly so
rapt that he seemed to take no notice of the din and fighting close to
him, calm and composed as at the Kreuzberg, and constantly meeting
battalions that he must thank with "Good-evening, grenadiers," till we
were actually by this trifling brought under fire again. But he has
had to hear so much of this that he will stop it for the future, and
you may feel quite easy; indeed, I hardly believe there will be
another real battle.

When you have of anybody _no_ word whatever, you may assume with
confidence that he is alive and well; for if acquaintances are wounded
it is always known at latest in twenty-four hours. We have not come
across Herwarth and Steinmetz at all, nor has the King. Schreck, too,
I have not seen, but I know they are well. Gerhard keeps quietly at
the head of his squadron, with his arm in a sling. Farewell--I must to

Your faithfullest v.B.

Zwittau, Moravia, July 11, '66.

_Dear Heart_,--I have no inkstand, all of them being in use; but for

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